Sunday, August 12, 2012

How Healthy is Your Family Organization?

This last week I had the opportunity to attend a satellite edition of the Willowcreek Association's Global Leadership Conference. Since I am a stay at home, homeschooling mom, I looked at the "talks" through the lens of family. Family, our family, is my business; the group I help lead. And although I am called to lead in other areas of my life, they are my first responsibility.

One of my favorite talks was from Patrick Lencioni. I've already tossed the brochure for the conference, so I don't have his credentials. Sorry. But he was dynamic, funny and his content was great. Feel free to google him.

His speech was about organizational health. As I listened to him, I started to consider my family in terms of an "organization" and wondered if ours was healthy. He listed four disciplines to a healthy organization. This seemed to be geared toward the leaders, in our case, parents.

1) Build a cohesive leadership team. (Build a strong marriage.)
2) Create Clarity (more on this in a minute)
3) Over-communicate clarity (If your staff/kids can't make a good impression of you when you're not there, you aren't communicating enough)
4) Reinforce clarity through systems

All good stuff to consider. He landed on 2) Create Clarity for a while and this is where I felt like my family would most benefit. He gave six questions to ask that are critical to your family's health.

A) Why do we exist?
B) How do we behave? These would be our core values. He suggested no more than one to three truly endemic behaviors and they needed to be something worth getting punished for.
C) What do we actually do? For me this came down to how do we as a family best exemplify our core values?
D) How will we succeed? What is the strategy our family will use?
E) What is most important in our organization right now?
F) Who must do what?

I love these questions, and by the time he was done talking I had begun planning a series of family nights where our family organization would answer these questions together. My girls are old enough to be a part of this process and I want them to have total buy-in. Terry and I will certainly be leading them through this process, but the girls are old enough to understand what our family is about, and be excited about it! Soon, I hope they will be able to make a good impression of me going on about our core values.

What about you? Do you have a strong family organization? What could you do to make it better?